Parents Children Sexual orientation Golombok (96).pdf


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GOLOMBOK AND TASKER

Table 2
Young Adults' Experience ofSame-Gender A ttraction, Consideration ofLesbian or Gay
Relationships, Involvement in Same-Gender Relationships,
and Sexual Identity, by Family Type
Heterosexual
single-parent mother"

Lesbian mother

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Variable
Same-gender sexual attraction
Same-gender attraction
Opposite-gender attraction only
Consideration of lesbian/gay
relationships0
Future possibility
Previously considered possibilities
Never considered
Same-gender sexual relationship
Same-gender relationship
No same-gender relationship
Sexual identity
Bisexual/lesbian/gay identity
Heterosexual identity

Women

Men

All

Women

6
11

3
5

4
16

2
7

2
9

5
5
5

1
3
3

2
1
15

1
0
7

1
1
8

19

5
12

1
7

0
20

0
9

0
11

2
23

2
15

0
8

0
20

0
9

0
11

All

Fisher's
exactbp
ns

9
16

.003
6
8

8
6

.022
ns

Adult Kinsey scale ratings
0
1
2
3
4
5
6

Men

ns
18
3
1

1
0
0
2

17
3
0
0
0
0
0

a

Data on sexual orientation was unavailable for I male participant. b Fisher's exact calculated for men
and women combined. c Fisher's exact calculated for previous or future consideration versus never considered gay or lesbian relationships. Data unavailable for 3 participants from each group.

Discussion
The sample studied in the present investigation is unique in
that it constitutes thefirstgroup of young people raised in lesbian families to be followed from childhood to adulthood. As
information about childhood family environment was collected before the participants began to engage in sexual relationships, thefindingsrelating to the characteristics of the lesbian and heterosexual families in which these young people
grew up are not confounded by knowledge of their sexual orientation in adult life.
Although no significant difference was found between the
proportions of young adults from lesbian and heterosexual families who reported feelings of attraction toward someone of the
same gender, those who had grown up in a lesbian family were
more likely to consider the possibility of having lesbian or gay
relationships, and to actually do so. However, the commonly
held assumption that children brought up by lesbian mothers
will themselves grow up to be lesbian or gay is not supported by
thefindingsof the study; the majority of children who grew up
in lesbian families identified as heterosexual in adulthood, and
there was no statistically significant difference between young
adults from lesbian and heterosexual family backgrounds with
respect to sexual orientation.
It is important to remember that this research was conducted
with volunteer samples of lesbian and heterosexual families,
thus the generalizability of the findings is reduced. However,

similar procedures were used to recruit the two groups to control for self-selection biases, and the groups were matched for
demographic characteristics. It is not possible to recruit a representative sample of lesbian mothers given that many do not
publicly declare their sexual identity. However, both the lesbian
and heterosexual groups reflected a diversity of families nationwide, from different socioeconomic backgrounds, and with
different political or apolitical perspectives. Although our interviewees may have been reluctant to admit to same-gender sexual
preferences, if underreporting took place, it seems reasonable
to assume that this would have been more prevalent among men
and women from heterosexual homes, as young adults from lesbian families appeared to be more comfortable in discussing
lesbian and gay issues in general. Steps were taken to minimize
this potential source of bias by adopting aflexible,in-depth approach to interviewing. It is possible that the small sample size
resulted in an underestimate of the significance of group differences as a result of low statistical power (Type II error). Because
of limitations of sample size, data have been presented for more
than one child per family, which could have inflated significance
due to reduced error variance. However, the 2 daughters who
identified as lesbian were from different families, and of the 6
young adults from lesbian families who reported a same-gender
relationship, only 2 belonged to the same family (a brother and
sister), suggesting that thefindingscannot be explained in this
way. Ideally, an additional control group of heterosexual two-